India will break USA sanctions and keep importing Iranian oil

India buying Iran oil in defiance of Trump sanctions

The U.S. has since said it could consider exemptions for countries that have already shown efforts to reduce their imports of Iranian oil.

Speaking at the energy forum in New Delhi on Monday, Pradhan said India did not know whether it would receive a waiver from Washington's sanctions.

File image of Dharmendra Pradhan.

For weeks, crude oil has been underpinned and driven higher by US sanctions set to target Iran's crude oil exports during the first week in November, and the Trump administration has been leaning on governments and global companies to cut their imports to zero.

Later, talking to reporters, he said India has its own energy requirements which it has to fulfill. "We will be guided by our national interest", he added.

Further weighing on oil prices was "chatter that Saudi Arabia has replaced all of Iran's lost oil", said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage Oanda in Singapore.

"We have ordered for our usual quantity of oil", he said.

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In a sign that Iran oil exports won't fall to nothing from November, India will buy 9 million barrels of Iranian crude next month, Reuters reported on Friday.

With the European Union considering the creation of a "special goal vehicle" before November to facilitate trade with Iran, India hopes to find a way to settle payments to Tehran. Paying in rupee is an option.

"Any country that makes such claims. just wants to display its support for the United States sanctions against Iran", Zanganeh was quoted as saying. "So let us see how it evolves", he said.

Washington's sanctions, targeting Iran's crude oil exports, are to come into force from November 4. Since the start of September, prices had spiked by over 10 per cent reaching a four-year high despite the fact that at the Algiers meeting last month OPEC had declared that the market was comfortably supplied. This would signal an attempt to bypass USA sanctions on Iranian transactions using the dollar - the dominant currency in global oil trade.

Oil prices steadied on Wednesday after the International Monetary Fund lowered its global economic growth forecasts, but markets were supported as Hurricane Michael closed almost 40 percent of U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil output and U.S. sanctions restricted Iranian exports.

In May, US President Donald Trump announced America's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. The first round of sanctions took effect in August with a second round expected in early November.

As the start date of the US sanctions on Iran's oil is less than four weeks away, the market is jittery and prone to emotional reactions regarding the two key uncertainties over the next couple of months-how much Iranian oil will be lost to the USA sanctions, and how much spare capacity Saudi Arabia can bring (or is willing to bring) to offset possible steep losses.

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